Earth Day is April 22, here are seven ways you can enjoy the Kentucky great outdoors
By Hayley Robb
Enjoying the great outdoors and connecting with nature has been a way of finding solace during a difficult year, which has made Earth Day particularly important in 2021.
Kentucky is full of beauty and opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, so we’ve rounded up some ideas for places and spaces in the Commonwealth to celebrate Mother Nature this year.
1. Exercise outdoors
Floyd’s Fork Parks and Louisville’s Olmstead Parks offer great trails and tree-lined trails for biking, hiking, running or walking. Set aside time in your work day to get out or plan a family trip to the park after work.
Plus, Elizabethtown’s Freeman Lake Park or Lexington’s Legacy Trail offers great gravel and paved trails for exercise and activities.
2. Volunteer or visit a local or national park
With the world’s largest underground cave right here in the state, it seems obvious to celebrate Earth Day and one of its wonders. Mammoth Cave National Park offers several activities besides cave tours such as hiking, biking and camping. The park will also host several outdoor volunteer activities this year along the park’s trails and cemeteries. You can find out more here.
Land Between the Lakes is another national recreation area shared between Kentucky and Tennessee, where visitors can enjoy moose and bison sightseeing, camping, birding, kayaking, and canoeing.
3. Go camping
One of Eastern Kentucky’s treasures has some of the best camping sites in the state. And while camping at Red River Gorge, don’t forget to stop by Miguel’s Pizza for dinner. Either way, pizza tastes better in nature.
Other camping options across the state include: Bridge National Park Nature Reserve, Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, and Barren River Lake Resort Park.
4. Start composting
Do you have a green thumb? Now is the time to use it. Americans throw away 25% of the food they prepare, costing nearly a billion dollars a year to dispose of it. Wasted food usually ends up in landfills, which is bad for the planet.
Check out this link to find composting options near you. One option in central Kentucky is Treehouse Compost, which serves Fayette, Madison, and Jessamine counties. Subscribers pick up leftover food and Treehouse Compost employees pick them up and take them to a farm where they become a rich amendment for the soil. Make an impact this Earth Day!
5. Plant a tree
Trees give off oxygen that we need to breathe. They provide shade, reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and pollution in our waterways, and provide food, protection and more to the animals living in our ecosystem. But wait, there is more!
Researchers at the Christina Lee Brown Institute at the University of Louisville are conducting a study to determine whether trees can cure cardiovascular disease in humans. To find out, the team has planted up to 10,000 trees in the past three years in neighborhoods in Louisville. The director of the Envirome Institute hopes the experience will have an impact on urban spaces across the country.
So plant a tree on this Earth Day. There is no doubt that we could all use a little more green.
6. Get on the water
If the weather is nice and the sun is shining, Earth Day is a great excuse to get out on the water. So what is the most beautiful lake in Kentucky?
Lake Laurel River was recently recognized as the most beautiful lake in Kentucky. Located in London, it offers boating, fishing, swimming and scuba diving in one of the deepest and clearest lakes in the state.
7. Start a garden
Kentucky isn’t called the Bluegrass State for nothing. The state has some of the best weather conditions for planting flowers and gardening.
Kentucky experiences all four seasons and because of that, it ranks well on the USDA plant hardiness scale. Gardening in USDA Zone 6 is rewarding as there are so many plants that work well here. Adding native plants to your garden and landscaping can also give Kentucky’s ecosystem a boost. Find out more here.